Unleashing Your Health Club Team’s Talent

The extra time it takes to develop your team's talent pays off dividends. And it starts during the hiring process.

The reasons for developing the talent within your health club are limitless; bolstering your employees helps to improve retention, foster a positive culture, and increase productivity. And, in the wise words of business writer Tom Peters, “Leaders don’t create more followers, they create more leaders.”

However, like most things that are worthwhile, talent development is easier said than done—especially for the busy club operator.

“They often fall short when it comes to talent development because they don’t give individuals focused, undivided time,” says Debra Siena, president of Midtown Health.

While time can be hard to come by in the hectic club environment, operators who put a strategic talent development system in place often find that it pays off dividends.

Talent Development Starts in the Hiring Process

The best way to set yourself up for strong employee talent development is by taking a strategic approach to the hiring process.

“Health club operators should make sure the candidate is culturally aligned with the rest of the staff and with the objectives and the vision is of leadership,” Siena says.

To do this, develop situational questions around attributes that are culturally important to the organization. The candidate’s answer will give you insight into their experience and values.

“One of our values is that people have a positive attitude,” Siena says, “so questions you might ask around that might be, ‘When you’ve been having a bad day, how did that affect your work?’ or, ‘How have you overcome adversity?’”

If the candidate gives an example that shows they don’t let their mood impact their job performance, they might be a keeper. But if the person tells you they keep their bad mood out of the workplace by calling out sick, it’s time to consider other candidates.

Handling New Employees with Care

Once you’ve hired a culturally aligned employee, the talent development process continues.

“One of the things that’s really important is to prepare for the candidate’s first day,” Siena says. “That includes not only the paperwork, but the launch schedule and notifying the rest of the team that a new employee is going to be starting.”

The new hire’s launch should involve all aspect of the club operation—not just what’s job-specific.

Carving Out Undivided Time and Focus

From new hires to seasoned employees, everyone on your team stands to benefit from some one-on-one time with leadership.

“One of the most important things that a leader can do is really listen to their employees and give them undivided time and focus,” Siena says.

You can carve out time for this kind of interaction by setting up:

  • Regular one-on-one meetings with employees
  • Weekly management meetings
  • Monthly departmental meetings
  • Semiannual all-team meetings

“That way, operators can really understand where the employee can contribute and where they can help the employee improve and set up win/win situations,” she says.

To learn more, listen to Siena’s IHRSA webinar, “Unleash Your Team’s Talent”.

Author avatar

Marianne Aiello

Marianne Aiello previously served as IHRSA's Senior Digital Content Manager—a position focused on crafting and monitoring IHRSA’s digital strategy and covering IHRSA events.